Late Israel Spy Eli Cohen to Be Immortalized in U.S. Movie

Cohen penetrated Syria's power hubs in the 1960s, became part of Damascus's ruling establishment.

The American producer L+E Pictures intends to make a motion picture about Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who operated in Damascus in the 1960s until he was executed in 1965.

The production company has purchased the filming rights to Shmuel Segev's book "Alone in Damascus" about Cohen's life, MovieWeb reported yesterday, citing Variety Magazine. The script will be written by director and scriptwriter Lior Geller, creator of the short film "Roads."

Segev told Haaretz yesterday that negotiations over the rights to his book were still in progress. "The deal is not done yet, but I very much hope that the problem will be solved within a few days and that the deal goes through," Segev said.

"Alone in Damascus" (Published by Keter, 1986) tells the story of Eli Cohen, known as the greatest Israeli spy of all time, who penetrated Syria's power hubs and rose through the ranks to become part of the ruling establishment in Damascus.

The novel examines several events in Cohen's life, including his recruitment, operation and capture by the Syrians.

Geller, a graduate of the Tel Aviv University's film department, won the Wolgin Award for Best Short Film in the 2007 Jerusalem Film Festival for "Roads." The film was screened in New York's Tribeca Film Festival and made the 2008 Oscar shortlist for student filmmakers.

Geller has since begun working to make "Roads" into a full-length movie, and also co-directed "Heart From Jenin" with Marcus Vetter. The film tells the true story of Ahmed Chatib, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was accidentally killed by an Israeli soldier, who goes on to save the lives of several Israeli children after his parents decide to donate his organs.